Maybe the hottest ticket in Portland that isn’t a Broadway, hip-hop musical about one of the Founding Fathers. The red-hot Portland Trail Blazers, winners of 13 in a row, took on the red-hot Houston Rockets, winners of 22 of their last 23 games.
This one lived up to all the hype. Portland led by one after three quarters, but the Rockets appeared to pull away in the closing minutes. The Blazers took it to the end with a 9-0 run, only to miss a last chance when they couldn’t grab a defensive rebound. And with that, the Rockets snapped Portland’s 13-game wins streak, 115-111.
The Blazers were led by Al-Farouq Aminu with 22 points. Jusuf Nurkic added 21 and Damian Lillard had 20. The Rockets were led by James Harden with 42 points. Chris Paul had 22.
Here are some quick notes and highlights.
Battle of the Back Court
What if I told you that Chris Paul and James Harden would outscore Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum 64-28 for the game. You might be thinking blowout. The Rockets put the clamps on Lillard and McCollum, but the Blazers were in this game until the end. If Lillard and McCollum have anything close to an average game, this one might have ended differently. But, give the Rockets credit for keeping those two from getting any offensive momentum.
Al-Farouq Aminu had a career-high 16 points in the first quarter, including four three-pointers on six attempts. Aminu took advantage of Houston’s smothering defense on McCollum and Lillard, hitting the open opportunities Houston’s defense allowed for him. Aminu was Portland’s leading scorer tonight.
The Blazers led by one after three, but Chris Paul temporarily stole all the heat from the Moda Center and the home team went cold for a spell. Paul and James Harden dominated the fourth quarter as Lillard and McCollum just couldn’t get anything going. The Blazers made an improbable 9-0 run late and got the defensive stand they needed to give themselves a shot at a miraculous win, but couldn’t corral the rebound off a Paul missed floater. The Rockets walk out with a win.
The Bosnian blocks the Beard pic.twitter.com/Zi7yXWVK1A— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 21, 2018
The Blazers will try and start a new streak when the Boston Celtics come to town on Friday night. Tip off is scheduled for 7pm. Keep it here for further analysis of this game and more.